Thursday, April 22, 2021 

Three tweets by Dan Slott

I don't know how much Slott talks about politics lately, although some does seem to turn up here and there. First, here's a post where he cites a Spider-Man short written by a shameful novelist: So Slott's not disgusted with Meltzer for penning Identity Crisis, what with its one-sided approach to the fairer sex, and its leftist metaphor for 9-11? Well, it's not like Slott ever respected Mary Jane Watson as a character, so this may not be a surprise. There may have once been a time I'd thought most professional writers considered it wise to avoid association with Meltzer, but in all that time, it's clear I was wrong.

Now, here's something Slott wrote that certainly involves a political topic, in a poll directed at foreigners: Hmm, that part about "gun culture" sure is fishy. So all the USA has a culture, not a belief in the importance of self-defense, huh? I've seen here and there how some leftists like to make gun owners sound more like a nasty variation on Linus Van Pelt, treasuring his security blanket in the Peanuts comic strips as he did when it was in publication, and this is just more of the same mindset. Slott also ignores that a lot of Asian-Americans have been buying guns for self-defense following the rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, and many Blacks have been too. So what's Slott insinuating anyway?

And then, here's something he said about his early writing efforts: How ironic he should admit something he did in the past was shoddy, because some of the examples I've looked at from the start of his career were pretty pedestrian (including a short-story from the 1991-94 Wonder Man solo book), suggesting Slott was a most unfortunate choice of editors back in the day for writing assignments, and another poor writer elevated via nepotism to assignments he never deserved. I honestly think it's a shame a notable artist like Kane had to work with him, but I do realize that back in the day, Slott could've been different, and at least had more common sense than today's generation badly influenced by social media and such. Now, however, things have changed, and not for the better.

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Wednesday, April 21, 2021 

Hank Azaria rejects the very Simpsons character he voiced for over 30 years, yet it's not solving anything

Actor Hank Azaria, who'd been voicing Apu on the Simpsons for at least 3 decades, has been making himself look ludicrous of recent as he keeps tripping over himself apologizing for one of his most famous roles in animation, according to the Hollywood Reporter (via the Daily Wire):
Hank Azaria was a recent guest on the Armchair Expert podcast, where he discussed several topics, including the lessons he learned from playing the controversial Apu Nahasapeemapetilon on The Simpsons.

The long-running Indian character on the iconic Fox cartoon came under fire in recent years (including in 2017 documentary The Problem With Apu) due to the character's racially stereotypical behavior, compounded by the fact that he was voiced by a Caucasian actor. [...]

"I was speaking at my son's school, I was talking to the Indian kids there because I wanted to get their input," Azaria said. "A 17-year-old … he's never even seen The Simpsons but knows what Apu means. It's practically a slur at this point. All he knows is that is how his people are thought of and represented to many people in this country."

The boy, "with tears in his eyes," Azaria said, asked the actor to tell Hollywood writers what they do matters and has ramifications on people's lives. Azaria said he would deliver the message.

"I really do apologize," Azaria said. "It's important. I apologize for my part in creating that and participating in that. Part of me feels like I need to go to every single Indian person in this country and personally apologize. And sometimes I do."
I think this is still another of blaming the wrong crowd. If anybody really did act offensively in reaction to Apu's characterization, it's the fault of the racial mockers, not Azaria. Not to mention that, if this meeting did take place, he did not show the courage to defend the characterization as part of the concept of comedy, and it's telling that the kid spoken of never even viewed the series. John Cleese already mocked Azaria for his weak-kneed approach, which hasn't put an end to any of his troubles.

And above all, it would seem Azaria ignored that there's Indian-Americans who don't, and never found Apu offensive, such as National Review's Pradheep Shanker:
Azaria has been attacked for his participation in this supposed atrocity as well. He initially politely appeared on Kondabolu’s documentary, but was largely blindsided by the complaints. He then was criticized for not providing satisfactory responses to claims of racism and bigotry. Again, as expected, rather than continuing to fight the thankless war against the woke mob, Azaria simply raised the white flag of surrender. In 2018, he decided to permanently stop voicing the character.

Unsurprisingly, that didn’t end the saga for Azaria. Charges of racism have dogged him ever since. Hence his self-flagellation on the Armchair Expert podcast. Apparently, the ridiculousness never ends.

But it should. For one thing, does Azaria really think most Indians give this even the most fleeting, passing thought? The Simpsons is not widely viewed, or even available, in India. There was a short period during the 1990s when the show gained some notoriety there, but mostly because people fell in love with the character of Apu.

1.4 billion Indians don’t really care
. The few here in the U.S. who do care have, for the most part, misdiagnosed a problem, and blamed, in an incredible and mind-boggling twist of logic . . . a cartoon character.

Ask most kids in high school today about Apu, and you’ll find not only that few have ever watched The Simpsons, but also that few even have a clue who Apu is. The chances that bigots at Azaria’s son’s school are using this character as their primary weapon against Indian-American students are very low.

I explored this several years ago, in an informal setting with numerous Indian-American students. I asked what Hollywood character was most used to “insult” their ancestry; the answer was not Apu from The Simpsons. It was Raj, the heavily accented immigrant Indian on The Big Bang Theory. With the end of that show, even that reference is now dated. I have asked various students this question over the years, and I have received very similar responses. Other names that are commonly brought up include Baljeet, an Indian animated character on the Disney show Phineas and Ferb, and Dopinder, the heavily accented taxi driver in the Deadpool films. Apu is almost never brought up as the weapon of choice from the prejudiced attackers.

Anyone see a pattern?

Bigots care not about what weapon they use to hurt the targets of their attack. They will use anything that is convenient. The characters, therefore, are not the problem; the bigots are. In the days long forgotten, it was the term ‘dotheads’ (referring to the red dots that we Hindus sometimes adorn on our foreheads) that was most commonly used.

Additionally, does anyone think the color of the voice actor matters? Azaria has repeatedly claimed that only people of color should voice such characters, but the examples above were voiced by South-Asian actors, and the targeting still occurred. The only other solution is . . . to never show Indian characters at all, correct?
That's exactly the misfortune the PC crowd is leading to. Not that they could care, since the irony is just so massively appealing to them. The whole topic is symbolic of the sorry case of political correctness the USA has long suffered from, which has really scraped bottom this past decade.

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Tuesday, April 20, 2021 

Jim Lee's agenda choices are most reprehensible

A few weeks ago, in an example of his own radical leftism, artist and DC executive Jim Lee tweeted support for the following: Needless to say, this is far-left activism at its most disturbing, a classic failure to judge based on logic. And all from the same artist who associated with Brad Meltzer, suggesting he has no issue with Identity Crisis, no matter how hurtful the product is to women. Lee is another ignoramus who turns a deaf ear and blind eye at how the transgender ideology is hurtful to women, and also to children. Even some feminists are already expressing regret over supporting the ideology. Of all the political tweets Lee could ever make, this stands out of recent as a most blatant example.

And with that, Lee's put himself firmly in the category where you'd have to separate art from artist. We should also consider that he's been with DC a long time, and appears to be one of the staffers who never objected to Eddie Berganza's vile conduct any more than the ex-publisher Dan DiDio. That's why Lee's support for transgender propaganda is so troubling by extension. As though his favoratism for Batman weren't bad enough. It all suggests Lee lives in a very dark, alienated world, which makes this whole affair that much sadder.

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Monday, April 19, 2021 

Independent publishers are allegedly next to serve as movie mining material

The Hollywood Reporter has an article written by propagandist Graeme McMillan (who may have been said to be dismissed from their official employ, but still appears to be writing for them on some kind of basis), babbling all about how indie comics look like the next goldmine for adapting to screens. But look who comes up as an interviewee for this piece - a certain former Marvel EIC who's now working with a certain former publisher from the same company, Bill Jemas, who're now heading their own new publisher:
To Axel Alonso, there’s something that comic books are capable of that no other media can match. “Comics are the ideal medium for producing truly ground-breaking work that creates IP that can come alive for generations,” he tells The Hollywood Reporter. “Comic fans are in the vanguard of pop culture — they are incredibly discerning, so when a character, story or series resonates with them, you know you have a hit on your hands.”

Alonso knows what he’s talking about. As editor, and later editor-in-chief, of Marvel Comics from 2000 through 2017, he was a key figure in guiding the company from bankruptcy to the cultural behemoth it became, returning key franchises such as Spider-Man and the X-Men to fan-favorite status. Since 2018, he’s been chief creative officer and editor-in-chief of start-up publisher Artists, Writers & Artisans, one of a new generation of comic publishers positioning themselves as the next Marvel to not only fans, but potential investors and business partners.
This is almost enough to laugh. When Alonso first came aboard Marvel in the past 20 years, it was at a point when their comic sales were gradually plummeting, and Spider-Man's One More Day, the tale that saw Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson's marriage obliterated for the sake of Joe Quesada's illogical biases, only precipitated audience alienation from the publisher. And after Alonso succeeded Quesada as EIC, he not only oversaw continuation of keeping Mary Jane away from Spidey until C.B. Cebulski at least brought her back into a relationship with Peter 3 years ago, he also oversaw a ton of political correctness and far-left politics into the storytelling. You could also say they became alarmingly rife with sexism in the guise of body-shaming and sex-negativity. I guess McMillan really is that disrespectful of Stan Lee's hard work. No wonder he sugarcoats the maltreatment of X-Men to boot. Beginning the article quoting such a joke of an editor is pretty stupid.

Now, let's turn to the main focus of the piece:
Those would-be competitors, including AfterShock Comics and Valiant Entertainment, are cultivating a financial model that focuses on a leaner publishing output. In comparison with indies like Image, Boom! Studios and Dark Horse Comics, the new guard is smaller in size but arguably more centered on potential film and TV adaptations.

That has attracted the attention of business partners: Valiant — a 2012 relaunch of a publisher founded in 1989 — was bought by DMG Entertainment in 2018; mogul James Murdoch invested $5 million in AWA in 2019; and AfterShock merged with distributor Rive Gauche last year. (They've also hired away from Marvel. AWA's founders include not only Alonso but also former Marvel publisher Bill Jemas, while Valiant Entertainment's reboot added former Marvel CEO Peter Cuneo as chairman.)

Valiant publishes a Marvelesque shared universe of superhero properties, while AfterShock focuses on unrelated sci-fi and fantasy series envisioned as mini-franchises. (Two such successes: Animosity, optioned for a movie at Legendary, and Undone by Blood, being developed for TV via Norman Reedus’ Bigbaldhead productions.) AWA features a shared universe guided by Sense8 writer J. Michael Straczynski that’s published alongside properties created by the likes The Boys co-creator Garth Ennis.

As a famously fast and cheap medium — at least in comparison to television and especially movies — the appeal of using comics as proof of concept is hard to ignore, but simply printing a comic doesn't lead to getting optioned.

Publishers are developing franchises with Hollywood talent — think Boom’s successful BRZRKR series, co-created by Keanu Reeves — in order to produce intellectual property for film and TV development. That has led to publishers setting up production deals without having even released a comic, as was the case in 2019 with Paramount and Atlas Comics, a new company using IP from a defunct 1970s publisher of the same name (that agreement has yet to produce any tangible results).
And this just proves it's not direct entertainment value that's the name of the game, but a wellspring to make movies mania. Reeves' BRZRKR is just the most recent example. If that's how they're going to operate, how can we ascertain their products are worth reading? I'm not encouraged to know Straczynski's part of this project, nor Ennis. The former was part of the effort to degrade Spider-Man, and JMS compounded it with Sins Past. Such atrocities are exactly what brought down Spidey in the past 20 years. Above all, the problem with JMS is that, while he may have written a few comics early in his career, and worked in animation, he was still hired based on his showbiz background in Hollywood, running TV shows like Babylon 5, and also due to how he had a certain audience that followed him to whatever he wrote, such as his Rising Stars comic. That's hardly ensuring merit-based writing is the emphasis.

All this does is discourage me from buying anything from such publishers, if all they care about is producing material with the intention of getting it optioned for movies by extension. Besides, if the trade journal is going to sugarcoat somebody as disgraceful as Alonso and Jemas, something is terribly wrong. Not to mention it's laughable to call comics "cheap" at a time when prices have risen to 5-6 dollars, certainly from the mainstream publishers.

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Sunday, April 18, 2021 

Is Jim Zub looking for excuses to attack conservative beliefs?

I took a look at what Zub is saying about the Covid19 vaccination situation in Canada, which sadly isn't being handled well, and he said, for example: Now I think it's regrettable the Canadian government, provincial and national alike, are doing such a terrible job, making things worse by ways of the lockdowns, and even shutting up medics with differing views, but scapegoating capitalism and making it sound like he's blaming the US for all their ills in the great white north does nothing to improve a terrible situation. Is he saying the Canadian government was literally the sole specialist in making medicine, vaccines et cetera, and Canada never had any private institutions for the same? Very peculiar. For now, he'd do well to state clearly whether he believes premier Justin Trudeau has to shoulder accountability for the dreadful situation in the country. And consider that sometimes, government-made products can be quite dreadful. The Russian-made Lada cars certainly weren't much to write home about in past decades, and China's vaccines, bound to be government-made too, are not considered great either. I know this isn't the same thing, but still, I'd be wary of medical equipment that's altogether government-made. (Update: it would seem Zub erased the 2 most eyebrow-raising tweets. Wow. He must've realized they were controversial enough as it is. Still, I think he could've easily avoided such bizarre rants if he'd wanted to.)

I also noticed Zub resurfacing some tweets he'd written earlier about Dungeons and Dragons, and other such RPG products, which he's been contributing to with creative input for guidebooks as well as the comics: While I think the genre of RPGs and the D&D franchise is a great venture, and think it's impressive if he's enthusiastic about it, I have to wonder what he thinks of the recent lurch to political correctness by Wizards of the Coast, who've been absurdly altering the Orcs - and possibly the Drows - in a supposed attempt to fight racism, even though these are entirely fictional races and species. Surely the biggest problem is the awkward position it's going to put the company in:
The idea that orcs serve evil in the game is not racist, and never has been. But now Wizards of the Coast is going to answer questions about why it tolerated racist ideas, and fans will see the game design changed to answer a non-existent problem.
Unfortunately, that's pretty much the problem for practically several years now. And I can't help wondering if dear Mr. Zub by any chance adheres to such political correctness in the guidebooks he's been working on. So far, it doesn't look like that's the case (though I noticed he worked with Andrew Wheeler, who once had been a writer for the now defunct far-left Comics Alliance). But if it did turn out to be that way, then I can't see why he'd ever associate with the franchise in the first place, if he really believed it was that insanely poor in its approach to morale. If anything, what the current publisher WOTC is doing now is smacking original publisher TSR's co-founder Gary Gygax in the face, after all the hard work he did to prove the game wasn't an influencer of evil, and now, the succeeding company makes a joke out of themselves by failing to do as he did and defend the game, and make clear it was never what modern PC lunatics are making it out to be. Bounding Into Comics wrote a topic about obnoxious woke activists who've been trying to devastate the whole franchise, and at least one of Zub's comic adaptations is cited in a coverscan. Which should serve as a reminder that, if he really values his work, along with the whole D&D franchise, he'd do well to make sure he gives his full backing to it, and doesn't kowtow to political identitarians.

One more little item I noticed that I may as well comment on is this post he wrote about artist Netho Diaz: Indeed, they could, right? But I get the feeling the reason they're not hiring the guy is because his style doesn't meet their PC standards of the now, which is very poor. Based on how bad their editors are, that's why if I were in Diaz's shoes, I wouldn't worry about not getting jobs at the Big Two, if it turned out they'd sabotage his work for PC's sake, and until they're bought out by more reliable owners, that's one more reason why it's better not to crave a job with DC/Marvel.

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Saturday, April 17, 2021 

Joye Hummel, first woman to script Wonder Woman in the Golden Age, passes away at 97

Firstpost has an obituary originally reported by the NY Times announcing the passing of Joye Hummel, who at 19 was the earliest woman who'd written WW stories in the Golden Age, even if, much like co-creator William Marston, she was never directly credited, with pseudonyms and ghostwriting common at the time:
Joye Hummel Murchison Kelly was the first woman to write scripts for the Wonder Woman comic-book franchise, but hardly anyone was aware of that for almost 70 years. Then Jill Lepore tracked her down while writing her 2014 book, The Secret History of Wonder Woman, and suddenly Hummel was a cause célèbre in the fan universe.

The late-life acclaim mystified her a bit.

“She was amazed that people made such a big deal over it,” her son Robb Murchison said in a phone interview. “She’d say, ‘It’s just a comic book.’ She kind of played it down.”

She was 19 and known as Joye Hummel in March 1944, when she went to work for William Moulton Marston, a psychologist who had created Wonder Woman three years earlier and found himself with a product that was in such demand that he couldn’t keep up.

“At first, Hummel typed Marston’s scripts,” Lepore, who teaches at Harvard University, wrote in The Secret History. “Soon, she was writing scripts of her own.”

Hummel said she wrote the scripts for more than 70 Wonder Woman adventures (though her name appeared on none of them), helping to form what became the most enduring and widely recognized female figure in the superhero universe. Then, in 1947, shortly after Marston died of polio, she stopped. She had just married David Murchison, a widower with a young daughter; being at home for that child, Hummel thought, was more important than her work on Wonder Woman.

Hummel became largely invisible as far as the comic-book world was concerned. Robb Murchison said that her family and a few others knew of her role, but that she didn’t advertise it. Lepore, though, researching her book, came across Hummel’s name and went looking for her.
While I think Hummel had an admirable job back in the day, the irony is that most PC liberals couldn't care less if she'd remained that way. Not to mention that the alleged biographer who did the research, Lepore, threw Marston's very creation under the bus when the UN's most PC members objected to using WW as a project mascot. Worst, Lepore acted as apologist for Woodrow Wilson. I've also been skeptical of claims Lepore made that Marston mistress Olivia Byrne was allegedly related to Planned Parenthood's founder Margaret Sanger, if only because it sounded like an attempt to divide and discourage WW fans from keeping up their support, and nobody else seemed to verify whether this was fact. If Lepore couldn't defend WW, how can we believe she ever respected Marston and artist Harry G. Peter for bringing the Amazon princess about in the first place? Consider in addition that Hummel obviously never had a problem with WW's bustier costume, seeing how it remained so in use and became iconic for many years, and as the article notes, the comic was in demand.

So I think Hummel Murchison is a lady to be admired for her role in scripting WW adventures. It's only a shame a phony like Lepore had to be given citation for this, considering her "fandom" for WW is questionable at best. (Update: Lepore also made distorted accusations about police that're becoming commonplace among leftists like her. So much that even Forbes was disturbed. One more reason why, no matter how accurate anything she said about Hummel is, Lepore is sadly not fit to be writing these biographies.)

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Friday, April 16, 2021 

The artist who did a bad job drawing Carol Danvers in Indigenous Voices does just as bad a job with Batman

Some may recall Kyle Charles, a Canadian artist who drew a very poor portrait of the real Ms. Marvel in the Indigenous Voices special last year. Now, as reported by CTV News, he got a job drawing Batman for DC, and shows no signs of improvement:
“A light beard on him, and like a little wider frame, a bit older, just a little bit tougher looking... it's awesome to be able to draw that form of Batman in the Dark Knight returns style, so I had a lot of fun with it,” Charles told CTV News.

[...] “I’m super pleased with how it looks, the cover is really good, I think the art on it is fantastic. As a special bonus to us DC comics acknowledging its our 35th anniversary actually allowed us to put Enigma on the cover of the book!” said Bryenton.
I'm sorry to say, but that cover looks pretty dull, not all that different from the kind of illustrations Rob Liefeld was known for years ago. Even Frank Miller was never this mediocre in the 80s.
Charles has previously worked with Marvel Comics drawing for the Indigenous Voices series just a few years after he was living on the streets of central Edmonton.

“I’ve been great, very busy. I’m working with some of the biggest companies in the world, including one of the biggest shoe companies in the world and we will be announcing that later this coming year. It's been a huge response to the Marvel book and, yeah, its been go, go, go, busy, busy, busy,” added Charles.
All it proves is, given the chance, DC will hire artists as poor as Marvel's been (and apparently also a shoemaking company), competing as they clearly are with Liefeld to see who's the sloppier artist. Some might've thought that, based on their regrettable modern bias in favor of Batman, they might keep the art integrity in good condition. But if this is whom they're hiring, no matter how questionable his art skills, it's a sign even that much is getting lost in the shuffle of social justice propaganda and political correctness.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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